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10 Leading Filmmakers of Catalonia’s New Wave

A new wave of filmmakers is emerging in Catalonia: Cosmopolitan, schooled in industry practices, genre blenders and versatile in style, they have tackled wide ranging subjects. Many of them happen to be women. Variety profiles 10 leading lights from the Spanish region.

Ballús’ short “Immersion” was well received by critics and her feature, “The Plague,” was nominated for the European Discovery – Fipresci’ Prize at the European Film Awards and took multiple 2014 first feature prizes on Spain’s fest circuit. Now the alum of Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University is initiating the French-Spanish co-production “Staff Only,” a dramedic coming-of-ager exploring international tourism in developing countries, and developing comedy “Six Ordinary Days.”

Colell (“Manuscript to the City”) has worked as an editor and cinema lecturer. She has just finished her first fiction feature, “Facing the Wind,” selected for the 2015 Cannes Atelier, about a mature woman choreographer who returns to her native village after 20 years. “It’s not inspired by true facts, but true emotions, mine and the character’s,” Colell explains, announcing she’s developing “Duo,” “a road-movie set in Argentina’s North-East, about a couple’s separation.”

Delpierre, who founded Inicia Films in 2006, has produced two Catalan New New Wave milestones: “Summer 1993” and Laura Ferrés’ 2017 Critics’ Week short, “The Disinherited.” With Betta Pictures, Delpierre is producing Pilar Palomero’s debut “Las niñas,” about an 11-year-old that questions her received education. “I’m stimulated by directors with singular views,” she says. “Then I consider their creative interest for audiences and my potential production input.”

Having studied at Cuba’s San Antonio de los Baños, Hernandez works with David Matamoros at Zentropa Spain, whose credits include Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s “Evolution” and Roger Gual’s “Tasting Menu.” Currently in post on Richard García and Raúl Portero’s “Grimsey” Hernandez is in pre-production on New Queer Cinema title “Isaac” – a Guadalajara Work in Progress Festival winner this March. She and Matamoros will co-direct the contempo relationship tale.

L.A.-based Marques-Marcet’s first feature, dramedy “10,000 KM,” about love in the Internet age, took the SXSW acting award for Natalia Tena and David Verdaguer. Marques is now finishing his sophomore feature, the Visit Films-sold “Estamos como queremos,” produced by Barcelona’s Lastor Media, L.A.’s LA Panda, and the U.K.’s Vennerfilms. Set in London, its cast includes Tena and Verdaguer, and Oona and Geraldine Chaplin.

Actress-director Martín starred in and directed “Júlia Ist,” a best feature and director winner at Spain’s Malaga Fest Zonacine showcase. Coordinating a theatre lab in Barcelona with links to Berlin’s Volksbühne, she’s planning new stories “exploring my generation’s emotional conflicts — selfishness, envy, immaturity but also knowledge, culture, conscience — and the contradictions of those born in this first world,” she explains.

Quílez was pre-selected for the 2017 Oscar with “Graffiti” a delicate, language-free dystopian love-story. First feature “Out of the Dark,” a Colombia-set ghost story, was made for Participant Media, Dynamo Capital and Apaches Ent. About to shoot short “72%”; developing Rodar y Rodar-produced “El ocupante,” a psychological thriller with terror beats turning on identity. “I want to make personal films exploring new territories but targeting wide audiences; I know it’s ambitious,” he says.

Before founding Coming Soon Films in 2014 Marta Ramírez worked at Oberón Cinematográfica and Rodar y Rodar. Aiming to nurture young filmmakers, Ramírez has produced several shorts (“El vestido,” “Rol”) and now is finishing “Distances,” the second feature of Elena Trapé (“Blog”), about friendship. “I’m interested in features with fresh and innovative gazes, with a universal appeal coming from a very personal viewpoint,” she says.

Simón’s debut, “Summer 1993”, a moving record of a 6-year-old orphan’s loneliness, snagged Berlin’s 2017 Generation Kplus Grand Prix. Schooled in Barcelona and London, where she developed shorts “Born Positive” and “Lipstick,” Simon’s now writing projects set in the Catalan countryside and on Galicia’s coast. “I like to portray the complexity of family relationships through daily life, revealing the characters through small gestures and looks,” she says.

Victori short “La culpa” won the top prize at 2012 YouTube Your Film Festival – and Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender as producers for digital series “Zero.” He has recently directed episodes of Atresmedia thriller series “Lifeline.” Now about to shoot “The Pact,” a Belén Rueda supernatural thriller from Ikiru Films. “My aim is to make commercial cinema deeply related to feelings and moral dilemmas,” he says.

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